Uganda, Sierra Leone Pledge to Trade Together

Kampala — President Museveni yesterday stressed the need to work with Sierra Leone in areas of specialisation, business transactions and trade over.

The President made the remarks while receiving his Sierra Leone counterpart, Mr Julius Maada Bio, at State House, Entebbe.

The Sierra Leone leader is on a three-day state visit at the invitation of his host.

The two leaders held bilateral talks along with their respective delegations during which Mr Museveni congratulated his guest for attaining political stability in Sierra Leone and ending the Ebola outbreak.

Mr Museveni also commended President Maada Bio for his great leadership skills as the current chairperson of the committee of 10 the African Union.

Mr Maada Bio thanked Mr Museveni for sending Ugandan doctors to assist Sierra Leone when the Ebola epidemic in the Ebola epidemic hit the West African country between 2014 and 2016.

He said the action had greatly saved Sierra Leone from more deaths.

He appreciated President Museveni's role in supporting the peace processes in South Sudan.

Following the meeting, three Memoranda of Understanding were signed between both governments.

These included a general cooperation framework agreement; political consultations agreement between the two countries' initiated by the respective Foreign Affairs ministers Sam Kuteesa and his counterpart, Faridah Nabeera. The waiver of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic, official or service passports was signed by the Internal Affairs Minister, Gen Jeje Odongo, and Ms Nabeera.

A joint communiqué issued at the conclusion of the talks stated that Mr Museveni and his Sierra Leone counterpart had agreed to the formation of a Joint Permanent Council to foster talks on trade and economic cooperation. The presidents called on the international community to support the effort of the African Mission in Somalia to help the Somali Government.

They also affirmed their continued support to working closely with the African Union, the United Nations and other inter-governmental bodies.

At a joint press conference, Mr Museveni said it was essential to link West Africa to East Africa in terms of infrastructural development with a view to boosting the economies of the respective regions through railway linkage and water transport.

President Maada Bio said he was in Uganda to learn and emulate how the East African country had been able to revive its economy despite the harsh past that it had faced.

"I am here to learn about the many strides done to develop this county despite the harsh past. We admire it and want to learn from it. Thank you for bringing peace and stability needed to develop the country. We have had a similar past, had the same colonial masters, internal conflicts, Ebola and corruption," he said.

"Our economy was completely ruined from war but because of our resilience and determination, we are a now a democratic country. Today we have had difficulty to convince the people that there is no war, no Ebola in the country. I am trying to fight this myself without PR," the Sierra Leone leader added.

President Maada Bio urged Ugandan investors to consider investing in Sierra Leone, adding that its investment climate had improved since the political turmoil had ended.

Mr Museveni later hosted President Julius Maada and his delegation to a State luncheon.

The Sierra Leone leader will visit Kapeeka industrial establishments in Nakaseke District before he attends the Africa Blockchain Conference in Kampala tomorrow.

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